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DOT-recordable accidents and how they can hurt a truck company

When a driver in Pennsylvania gets a speeding ticket or other moving violation, often they will be fined and have points added to their license. If they get too many points, their license may be suspended. Did you know that a similar system exists for trucking companies? This blog post will describe in a little more detail the system the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration uses to track this information.

Any company that employs commercial drivers is known as a motor carrier. The federal Department of Transportation requires motor carriers to record certain kinds of serious accidents. These accidents are known in the industry as DOT-recordable accidents. These accident records have to be maintained for three years. The DOT uses this information to compile statistics and to rate motor carriers.

What kinds of accidents are DOT-recordable? There are three general categories. Any accident that results in a fatality must be recorded. Any accident is DOT-recordable when it results in a bodily injury where the injured person receives immediate medical attention away from the scene of the accident. And any accident is DOT-recordable when at least one of the vehicles involved in the accident had to be towed from the scene.

When a motor carrier has too many DOT-recordable accidents, it will receive an unsatisfactory rating from the FMCSA. It may also be subject to restrictions in the kinds of passengers and cargo it can carry. When a truck company has too many DOT-recordable accidents, it may be prohibited from hauling hazardous materials. And depending on the circumstances, the company may face liability for the injuries suffered in some of the DOT-recordable accidents if the company is found to be legally at fault.

Source: FindLaw, "What is a DOT-Recordable Accident?," accessed on April 14, 2018

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